Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drug Abuse and Misuse
Prescription and over the counter drug abuse has become an area of concern in Indiana and the United States. Many students use prescription drugs properly, but nearly one in five teens reports abusing them to get high. Two-thirds of teens that report abuse of prescription medications are getting it from friends, family, and acquaintances. The Drug-Free Coalition of Tippecanoe County has initiatives in place to educate the community in an effort to reduce the misuse and limit youth access to RX and OTC drugs.
Why do students abuse prescription drugs?
- They are seeking psychological or physical pleasure
- They do not understand the risks of taking drugs that were not prescribed specifically to them. They also fail to realize the danger of mixing prescription drugs with alcohol, other prescription drugs and illegal drugs.
- It is easier to get prescription drugs than illegal drugs.
- There is pressure to get better grades or to fit in with friends. They also may not be aware of other, positive alternatives to help them deal with stress.
What you can do to help:
Educate: Whether you are a parent, teacher, or simply work closely with students, take just a moment to have a brief conversation about prescription drug misuse. Remind your student that you are there to help. Here are some other things you can remind them of:
- Respect the power of medicine and use it properly.
- Recognize that all medicines, including prescription drugs, have risks along with benefits. The risks tend to increase dramatically when medicines are abused.
- Take responsibility for learning how to take prescription drugs safely and appropriately. Seek help at the first sign of your own or a friend’s problem.
Monitor: Parents are in an influential position and can immediately help reduce teen access to prescription drugs. But how aware are you? Think about this: would you know if some of your pills were missing? From this day forward, make sure you can honestly answer, “yes!”.
- Start by taking note of how many pills are in each of your bottles or pill packets.
- Keep track of your refills. This goes for your own medication, as well as for your teens and other members of the household. If you find you need to refill your medication more often than expected that could indicate a problem.
- If your teens has been prescribed a drug, be sure you control the medication and monitor dosages and refills.
- Make sure your friends and relatives – especially grandparents – are also aware of the risks. Encourage them to regularly monitor their own medicine cabinets.
- If there are other households your teen has access to, talk to those families as well about the importance of helping safeguard medications.
Secure: Students abuse prescription drugs because they are easily accessible and either free or inexpensive. Children may also get their hands on medications that aren't properly secured, which is extremely dangerous. Approach securing your prescriptions and over the counter drugs the same way you would other valuables in your home, like jewelry or cash. There’s no shame in helping protect those items. The same holds true for your medications.
- Take medications out of the medicine cabinet and hide them in a place only you know about.
- If possible, keep all medicines in a safe place, such as a locked cabinet that your teen cannot access.
- Tell relatives, especially grandparents, to lock their medications or keep them in a safe place.
- Talk to the parents of your teenager’s friends. Encourage them to secure their prescriptions.
For a free medication lock box contact us at 765-471-9916 or click here for more information!
Dispose: Safely disposing of expired or unused medications is a critical step in helping protect students. Here's how to help safeguard your family and home, and decrease the opportunity for your teens or their friends to abuse your medication.
- Take inventory of all the drugs in your home. Start by discarding expired or unused prescription and over the counter drugs, when your teens are not home.
- Unbelievable though it may seem, teenagers will retrieve discarded prescription drugs from the trash. To help prevent this from happening, mix the medication with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter and mix with water. Put the mixture into an empty can or bag and discard.
- Unless the directions on the packaging say otherwise, do not flush medication down the drain or toilet.
- To help prevent unauthorized refills and protect you and your families privacy, remove any personal, identifiable information from prescription bottles or pill packages before you throw them away.
Drug Drop-Off Locations in Tippecanoe County:
- Dispose of your unwanted or outdated over-the-counter medications or prescription drugs at the West Lafayette Police Department lobby. Please note the drop-off days will be on the 2nd THURSDAY each month from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm. The West Lafayette Police Department is located at 711 West Navajo Street, West Lafayette, Indiana. For directions click here.
- The Lafayette Police Department also hosts several Medication Take Back events each year. To find upcoming events, click here to view our Coalition Calendar.
- Purdue University Retail Pharmacy also accepts unused or expired medications. They are located in the Heine Pharmacy Building, room 118. The address is 575 Stadium Mall Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907. You can reach them at 765-494-1374, or visit during these hours: M-F 8:30-5:30, and during the Summer M-F 8:30-12:00, & 1:00-4:30.
For more information visit
- Use Only As Directed: sponsored by the Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health